O'Hara plea sidesteps trial in fraud case
CAPITAL REGION Prominent area entrepreneur and one-time NXIVM consultant Joseph O’Hara has entered a plea agreement with federal prosecutors nearly three years after he was accused of sending bribes to a school administrator in Texas in exchange for the district’s business.
O’Hara’s trial on three counts of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud was scheduled to begin today until the plea agreement was reached. O’Hara admitted to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and deprivation of honest services before Judge Frank Montalvo in U.S. District Court in Texas on Friday.
O’Hara was accused of bribing Tomas Gabaldon, an El Paso school administrator, for ensuring his company continued to get a contract from the district. Authorities claimed he gave $5,000 in the form of a campaign contribution to secure the deal.
The plea agreement O’Hara received was not immediately clear. Albert Weisenberger, O’Hara’s defense attorney, did not return a call for comment Thursday.
Gabaldon, a codefendants in the case, pleaded guilty to attempted conspiracy to commit mail fraud in August 2012. He was sentenced to two years in prison, three years supervised release and ordered to pay $2 million in restitution.
O’Hara headed Strategic Government Solutions, a financial consulting firm that helped school districts recover money through Medicaid reimbursements. The company was buried by legal expenses after a rival accused O’Hara of using its employees to secure work with its client, the Nebraska Association of School Boards.
O’Hara was also sued by NXIVM in 2006. The company accused him of misrepresenting himself as being licensed to practice law in New York when he was hired as a corporate attorney.
O’Hara previously owned the Albany Firebirds, an arena football team, and Albany Patroons basketball team. He sent his company into Chapter 7 liquidation in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Albany in 2008.